August 23: The God Who Gives Fullness (Ruth 4:1-22)
This Sunday Josh Herring will continue teaching a series on church history at 9:00am in the sanctuary [note: this is a change from the youth room for this week only], focusing on the roots of the Reformation and how theology develops over time. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project.
[We will study all of chapter 4, though only vv. 13-17 are provided here]
So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. (ESV)
The first scene of this final chapter finds Boaz waiting at the gate the morning after Ruth had uncovered his feet on the treshing floor. As Naomi had predicted, Boaz doesn't rest for a moment (Ruth 3:18). The end of the story provides resolution to all the twists and turns that have occurred throughout. The conclusion reminds us of the key theme of this whole book: the goodness of the hidden yet providential hand of God, directing and providing for the pair of widows from the land of Moab. We also learn that this short story is important because it ties into the broader national story of Israel; it is just one chapter in Israel's novel. And that broader story tells of a faithful God who redeems his people and brings them into fullness of joy in relationship with himself. Redemption, fullness and faithfulness. These are the themes that emerge from the final chapter of Ruth.
It is the great support and solace of the saints in all the distresses that befall them here, that there is a wise Spirit sitting in all the wheels of motion, and governing the most eccentric creatures and their most pernicious designs to blessed and happy issues. And, indeed, it were not worth while to live in a world devoid of God and Providence. (John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence)
Review and Apply
1. What is the meaning of redemption in the Old Testament? What did it mean for Boaz to redeem Ruth?
2. How do the events of chapter 4 reorient your perception of all the previous difficulties that Ruth and Naomi had endured?
3. Why was the genealogy of Ruth 4:18-22 added to the end of this story? What implication does this genealogy make about the relationship of Ruth's story to the broader story of Israel?
4. What does the end of this story teach us about the character of God?
5. What is God's providence and how does reflection on his providence encourage us in the midst of life's difficulties?
6. Where are you personally struggling to trust in the goodness and power of God in your life? How does the story of Ruth shape your trust toward God?